Good Sportsmanship Carries the Day Again
- by Matthew Brodsky
Many more sports have been played, numerous happy hours have occurred and probably a few related marriages have been consecrated since we last spoke with Robert Herzog, WG’95.
Wharton Magazine interviewed the founder and CEO of ZogSports for our Winter 2011 issue. Since then, the organizer of social sports leagues for young professionals has expanded into two new locations—Atlanta and Hartford, CT—and has laid the groundwork to move into another this fall—the Twin Cities of Minnesota. Plans are also under consideration to grow into the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas in due course. He now employs 17 full-time staff members and 160 part-time people, and his firm is approaching its 10-year anniversary.
To handle the growth, Herzog hired Mike Mortellaro, WG’05. In part, Mortellaro focuses on ensuring that ZogSport participants have a consistent experience no matter what city they call home. The key is having core company values and culture, Herzog said.
“One of the things that we realized … what we do really resonates with people,” Herzog said in a recent follow-up interview.
“We organize other people’s fun for a living, and we basically bring people together through sports.”
Often, the leagues give young professionals in their 20s and 30s a new community in a new city. All Zogsters build time into their schedules to play with friends and meet new ones in a relaxed, co-ed atmosphere.
The sports leagues and happy hours also attract participants because every activity promotes a good cause. Herzog’s company donates 10 percent of all profits and all of its “happy hour bar contributions” to charities chosen by participants.
ZogSports’ popularity is also driven by something that attracted Herzog to social sports leagues in his younger days: romance. As readers might remember, Herzog met his wife playing in a softball league. He estimates that perhaps hundreds of couples have resulted from ZogSports. He knows of a few “Zog babies” and, sadly, even a few Zog divorces too.
Bringing people together—that is his life’s mission, he told Wharton Magazine, and after a decade in business, connecting tens of thousands of people while creating economic activity and jobs, he still enjoys it.
“I am grateful that I created something that I love,” he added.
But his absolute love is coaching his kids (5 and 7) in Little League baseball and soccer.
Who knows … perhaps he will figure out a way to turn his passion for youth sports into a business too.